chapter  4
17 Pages

Reaching Beyond Silence: Metaphors of Ineffability in English Poetry—Donne, Wordsworth, Keats, Eliot: Ina Habermann

ByPoetry—Donne, Wordsworth, Keats, Eliot INA HABERMANN

Traditionally, in theories of rhetoric from classical antiquity to the early modern period, tropes had their place as embellishments and energizing elements within rhetorical elocutio. With the cognitive revolution, their heuristic value and their central role in all kinds of thought processes have been recognized and theorized in the fi elds of literary studies, linguistic semantics and pragmatics, philosophy and cognitive science (Blumenberg 1960/1989; Ricoeur 1975; Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Lakoff & Turner 1989; Turner 1991, 1996; Fauconnier & Turner 2002). Cognitive linguists and critics like Lakoff, Johnson and Turner insist that “[m]etaphorical understanding is not a matter of mere word play; it is endemically conceptual in nature. It is indispensable to comprehending and reasoning about concepts like life, death, and time” (Lakoff & Turner 1989: 50). Along these lines, they distinguish between conceptual metaphors, which express basic structures of language and thought, like life is a journey (Lakoff & Turner 1989: 9 and passim); image schemas like up/down, rising, container, source, path, etc. (Lakoff & Turner 1989: 97-100); and a more idiosyncratic production of image metaphors (Lakoff & Turner 1989: 89-96). For literary criticism, Turner’s work has been particularly important. In Reading Minds (1991), he presents his project of cognitive rhetoric, which amounts to a revolution of literary criticism in the age of cognitive science, and in The Literary Mind, he identifi es ‘parable’ as “the root of the human mind-of thinking, knowing, acting, creating, and plausibly even of speaking” (Turner 1996: v), introducing the concept of ‘blending’ as a

more precise explanation of how images from various sources are cognitively mapped onto each other and interact or ‘blend’.